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Know Your Foe: Detroit Lions


CHARLOTTE – The Panthers will be eager to flush Sunday's dismal 24-16 loss at home to Pittsburgh, so it's a good thing this week is short.

Carolina (5-9) will host its final home game of the regular season when Detroit (7-7) comes to Bank of America Stadium on Saturday for a 1 p.m. kickoff.

The Panthers are 7-3 all-time against the Lions, including a 5-1 record at home. Carolina shut out Detroit in their last meeting, winning 20-0 at home in November 2020. 

Here's what to know about the Lions:


The Lions started the season 1-6 and didn't look like they'd be making any waves in the NFC wild-card picture. Then, they got into November.

Since Week 9, Detroit has won six of their last seven games, falling only to Buffalo by three points on Thanksgiving.

The Lions know they'll have to win out to position themselves for the postseason, and they narrowly gutted out a 20-17 win at the Jets on Sunday.

Detroit's day included a 47-yard punt return touchdown from Kalif Raymond, a stronger defensive effort (particularly against the run, allowing New York 50 rush yards on 22 attempts), and a game-winning touchdown drive capped off by a 51-yard touchdown pass to tight end Brock Wright from quarterback Jared Goff.

Detroit's defense sacked Jets quarterback Zach Wilson twice in New York's final drive of the game, which helped set up for a game-tying field goal attempt from 58 yards out that Greg Zuerlein missed.

The Lions have now won three straight and come to Charlotte with momentum.

"We fully believe in each other," Goff said to the team website after the game. "Just know someone is going to make a play and do something right, and that's half the battle."

Kalif Raymond


Though last week's 20-point outing didn't show their offense at its best, the Lions have one of the league's more formidable scoring units.

Detroit averages 26.4 points per game, tied with Cincinnati for fifth in the NFL, and features multiple weapons in its passing game, ranked eighth in the league averaging 249.1 yards per game.

Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown is closing in on the first 1,000-yard season of his young career, totaling 974 yards on 89 catches with six touchdowns this year. He put up 76 yards on seven receptions against New York.

Raymond, who brought back the Lions' punt return score, has also stepped up this year. He added 53 yards against the Jets to his 454-yard season total.

Jameson Williams, a first-round draft pick recovering from an ACL tear sustained at the end of his college career, hasn't been pushed too far in his rookie year. But his first NFL reception went for a 41-yard touchdown against the Vikings in Week 14.

Goff has completed 64.9 percent of his passes this year for 3,604 yards and 23 touchdowns against seven interceptions with a 62.4 quarterback rating that ranks sixth in the league. He also hasn't thrown an interception in the last six games.

The Lions average 126.1 rush yards per game, 13th in the league, paced by running backs Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift.

Williams has put up 839 rush yards on 217 attempts with 14 touchdowns this year, while Swift adds 427 rush yards and 276 receiving yards with six combined touchdowns.

Amon-Ra St. Brown


The Lions' defense hadn't been winning games for them throughout their win streaks, but they produced two critical sacks in the final drive against New York and shuttered the Jets' ground game last week.

Detroit sacked Wilson four times, with defensive linemen Romeo Okwara and John Cominsky coming up with stops on the last drive.

The Lions have also benefited from the impact of their second-overall pick from this year's draft, defensive end Aidan Hutchinson. Hutchinson leads Detroit with 7.0 sacks in his rookie year, adding two interceptions and a fumble recovery to his stat line.

Cornerback Jerry Jacobs continued the Lions' takeaway streak with his first career interception against the Jets. Detroit has come up with at least one takeaway in 13 straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL.

Linebacker Alex Anzalone is the Lions' leading tackler. He has posted 105 tackles this season and added six pass deflections and an interception. Safety DeShon Elliott injured his shoulder against the Jets, but he has totaled 91 tackles this year (70 solo) with an interception.

Carolina leads the all-time series with Detroit, 7-3.

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